Nick's family blames the US government for his son's death, because they detained him in Iraq for 13 days without cause, releasing him at the onset of the kidnappings and violence, over a week after he had planned to leave Iraq. During his detention in Iraq, Nick Berg wasn't allowed to make phone calls or to contact a lawyer.
The videotape contained a statement from the kidnappers:
"As for you Bush, dog of the Christians, anticipate violence and difficult days. You and your soldiers will regret the day you stepped foot in Iraq and dared to violate Muslims .... As for you, mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the American administration to exchange this prisoner for some prisoners in Abu Ghraib, but they refused. We tell you that the honor of Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and other (prisons) are more noble than blood and lives. And you will only get shroud after shroud and coffin after coffin slaughtered in this manner."
I heard from someone that the video was available from http://www.ogrish.com , so I downloaded it. Despite the poor video quality, it was easily one of the most horriffic things I have ever seen -- nobody should have to die like that.
Although I question the need to see such a thing, I don't question the fact that this conflict has been dangerously sanitized up until recent days. As a result, I have decided to link to the video, which is available in small and large versions.
I understand the rationale for not negotiating with terrorists... however, are these people truely terrorists, or are they Iraqi resistance forces who will accept help wherever they can get it? Under what circumstances would an exchange of prisoners be acceptable in such cases -- could they be released to a third-party, for instance? Has the torture and killing of Iraqi prisoners opened the door to a series of reprisal killings, fundamentally making contractors working in Iraq less safe than in the past? That remains to be seen.
A government official recently announced that 30% of all foriegn contractors have left Iraq. If horrific, barbaric executions become commonplace, I think it's safe to say that those numbers aren't going down anytime soon.